From Prada to Nada (Pantalion/Lionsgate)
Should you see it? No sé (Maybe)
For starters, let me preface this post by stating that I’m NOT a Jane Austin fan. OK, now that we’re clear on that, not sure how I feel about this Latino-themed film starring a fairly young cast of Hollywood starlets: Camila Belle, Alexa Vega, Kuno Becker and Wilmer Valderrama. And worth mentioning separately is the fabulous April Bowlby, better known to many for her participation in Drop Dead Diva. While I do appreciate the fact that Televisa is making in-roads into Hollywood film production, to bring much needed Latino stories to the big screen, I’m also very cautious to give them much praise just yet (I mean, you’ve seen their tired Telenovela plots, right?). From Prada to Nada is loosely based, once again, on Austin’s Sense and Sensibility apparently (I’ve never read the book, nor do I plan on it any time soon), and like Televisa’s world renowned Telenovelas, it’s a story that’s been told more times than I care to remember. So, as one of the premier Spanish entertainment media moguls of the world, and as it was expected, Televisa ensured it promoted some of its own talent (Kuno Becker, who the media network giant has evidently been desperately trying to cross-over to Hollywood; guess he’s sold his soul to the devil, pobrecito– as well as Alexis Ayala and Adriana Barraza). I know of friends who walked out of the movie after 10 minutes but I believe in second chances and to being open minded and objective, especially when it comes to Latino film projects, because first of all, they are few and far between in Hollywood, and second, because you simply can’t write a fabulous and intelligent critique of it unless you have sat through the whole thing regardless of how miserable or ecstatic you felt through the experience. I give the cast props for at least keeping me engaged (they’re all so pretty). I also think the soundtrack was very well assembled and in the end it’s a film where I saw people like me: Latinos living in the U.S., being American yet holding on to core pieces of their culture. If Televisa is to succeed in its quest for world domination through Hollywood flicks, here’s one suggestion I give them: be original, stop recycling stories that have been told, use real stories of Latinos living in the U.S. and tell them with dignity and substance, and please, please, whatever you do, DO NOT make English films about the plots in your Telenovelas, it just won’t work. The bilingual Latino consumer is smarter than that!